Saturday, March 19, 2016

How Roger Cohen makes his case for equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism

So Roger Cohen of the Times begins by providing anecdotal evidence from one student (he thinks that just because the student is at Oxford that we should be more impressed: "Last month, a co-chairman of the Oxford University Labour Club, Alex Chalmers, quit in protest at what he described as rampant anti-Semitism among members."
But that is not it: the evidence provides the evidence, if there is such a thing in logic. Or the anecdotal evidence presents an anecdotal evidence of his own: "Chalmers referred to members of the executive committee “throwing around the term ‘Zio’”".  I have been in the US since 1983, and have been around many pro-palestinian events and at leftist gatherings and I have never ever heard such a term used, ever.  But then again: my evidence is anecdotal. But he (or his one source) adds another evidence of anti-Semitism: "high-level expressions of “solidarity with Hamas”".  Wait: so solidarity with Hamas is evidence of anti-Semitism? I am no fan of Hamas but how is solidarity with Hamas or with Mahmoud Abbas evidence of anti-Semitism? Please explain.  Unless he considers solidity with the Israeli government evidence of anti-Islam and anti-Arabnss.  But wait: Roger Cohen is not done with his persuasive piece in which he marshals one evidence after another. Here, he stumbles on another example of anti-Semitism among the left: "A recent Oberlin alumna, Isabel Storch Sherrell, wrote in a Facebook post of the students she’d heard dismissing the Holocaust as mere “white on white crime.”"   He is not kidding.  So a Facebook post based on "students she'd heard"?  That is your evidence?  Can you imagine Roger Cohen making his case in a court of law, even a kangaroo court of law?   And I don't doubt that there are anti-Semitic sentiments in the US and there are kooky deniers of the Holocaust, but why is that related to the Palestinian cause? Is the Palestinian cause responsible for notorious Western anti-Semites like Henry Ford and others? He then blames Jeremey Corbyn for the rise in anti-Semitism among the left but then adds: "Corbyn is no anti-Semite".  If Corbyn is not anti-Semitic, why did you mention him then?  He then cites another student from Oxford University: "one Oxford student, James Elliott, put it. Elliott was narrowly defeated last month in a bid to become youth representative on Labour’s national executive committee."  I don't understand this part here. Does he mean that the defeat of an Zionist in any election proves anti-Semitism? So does that mean that humans should vote for Zionists in every and all election to prove that they are not anti-Semitic?  But forget about all this, he finally makes his case why anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism: "What is striking about the anti-Zionism derangement syndrome that spills over into anti-Semitism is its ahistorical nature. It denies the long Jewish presence in, and bond with, the Holy Land. It disregards the fundamental link between murderous European anti-Semitism and the decision of surviving Jews to embrace Zionism in the conviction that only a Jewish homeland could keep them safe."   OK, here is my response as an anti-Zionist: 1) no, anti-Zionists don't deny the historical bond between Jews and the holy land.  I would never also deny the long Jewish presence in Palestine.  But I don't think that the Jews who belonged to Palestine in 1917 and who  constituted less than 10% of the population and who owned less than 3% of the land of Palestine deserved a homeland atop the existing Arab Palestine, or that the aspirations of the 10% should disregard the aspirations of the 91% of the population (the "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine", as they were outrageously referred to in the Balfour Declaration of 1917).  2) I also don't deny that there is a link between the murder of Jews in Europe and the foundation of Israel, but don't think that it was just to penalize the Palestinian national community for a crime that they didn't commit.  It is not anti-Semitic to believe that the establishment of a Jewish state should not take place at the expense of the Palestinian Arab nation. That is not anti-Semitic, no matter what a student at Oxford told Roger Cohen.  He then adds: "It dismisses the legal basis for the modern Jewish state in United Nations Resolution 181 of 1947. This was not “colonialism” but the post-Holocaust will of the world: Arab armies went to war against it and lost."  It is not anti-Semitic either to dismiss UN resolutions and no one has dismissed UN resolutions more than the occupation of the state of Israel.  And the UN Resolution (non-binding coming from UNGA) does not give the Jewish state what it has today: it was allotted (unfairly) 55% of Palestine when the Jewish population was only a third of the population of Palestine.  And Arab Armies had ever reason to go to war to defend the Palestinians from a Zionist assault: they went to war in order to prevent the massacre of Palestinians and their uprooting and the illegal occupation of Palestine. I only wish that Arab armies went with more force to prevent the larger force of Zionist forces (at the height of the conflict, the ratio of soldiers was 3-1 in favor of Zionist armies.  No matter what propaganda tactics Zionist hoodlums use, they won't shut down anti-Zionist voices in the US and around the world.  The notion that support for Palestinian restoration of rights and liberation of Palestine is anti-Semitic is as absurd as the notion that calling for the overthrow of the Iranian regime or the Saudi regime is anti-Muslim.  Anti-Zionism should never waver and should never quiver and should never compromise but it should also never ever allow anti-Semites to creep into the movement. Anti-Zionism should be clear in rejecting any association with anti-Semitism. 

PS If Roger Cohen accepts (he won't, like most Zionists), I would challenge him to a debate anywhere on anti-Zionism and the left.